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Utter publishes third edition of Encyclopedia of Gun Control and Gun Rights

The most recent publication by Lamar University Distinguished Professor Emeritus Glenn Utter has been crafted to get its readers thinking critically about gun rights and gun control.

The book, “The Gun Debate: Encyclopedia of Gun Rights and Gun Control” by Grey House Publishing is co-authored with Robert Spitzer. The volume is the third edition of Utter’s publication on Encyclopedia of Gun Control and Gun Rights. The second edition of Encyclopedia of Gun Control & Gun Rights, published in 2011 updated the 2000 edition.

Book coverThe book updates more than 300 entries and adds 40 new entries that cover important developments that have risen to prominence since 2011, including mass shootings such as the Orlando, Florida Pulse nightclub, and the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina and more.

Utter wants readers to “gain a balanced treatment of gun rights and controls.”

Utter coauthored the book with Spitzer, professor at State University of New York at Courtland. “We attempt to provide both sides of the issues from many topics. They include treatments of people who support and don’t support gun control and gun rights. There are 23 individuals in the book who support gun control and 24 who support gun rights. I see the value of both sides.”

The new volume consists of over 350 entries providing in-depth coverage of both sides of the gun debate. Updated and expanded coverage that includes new entries on recent gun laws and legislation, coverage of mass shootings and gun incidents, plus new information from the groups who support gun rights, and those who support gun control in the United States.

“I chose to focus on gun control because there are over 30,000 people each year who are killed by firearms and there are many more individuals that are injured by firearms each year. Those deaths are from intentional violence, accidents, and suicides. The largest group/percentage of people that are killed by guns are from suicides,” Utter said.

“I want people to be informed about the issue,” he said. “I hope that individuals who read the book will gain informed opinions about gun control and gun rights and understand the important issue of gun control and gun rights.”

Utter supports more extensive background checks for gun purchases.  “There are certain reasonable polices that can be introduced,” he said. “Background checks for people who purchase firearms, not only from federally licensed gun dealers but also for privately individually who sell guns. Forty percent of gun sales are by private individuals, and those who purchase a firearm from them do not have to undergo a background check.”

The volume has an easy-to-use A-Z format, with numerous cross-references. A detailed preface and introduction provide the reader with a useful background to the gun debate in America. The expanded primary documents section includes speeches, articles, and legislation surrounding the gun debate, and the updated chronology that includes key 2016 legislation and shooting incidents.

Utter served as professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at Lamar University where he taught since 1969. He served as the manuscript reviewer of two political science journals and has authored the books Campaign and Election Reform, The Religious Right: A reference Handbook, and Encyclopedia of Gun Control and Gun Rights, and edited American Political Scientists: A Dictionary. He is also the author of numerous articles and book chapters.

Going forward, Utter plans to continue research on gun rights and gun control as well as on other public policy issues.

The book is available on or